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Each ship has an associated speed attribute and propulsion type. The speed determines the time it would would take that type of ship to travel to its destination. When multiple ship types are combined into a fleet the total fleet travels at the speed of the slowest ship type. The propulsion type of a ship determines which research type will improve the ship's speed when that research's level is increased:

Propulsion Type (Research) Ships
Combustion Drive Small Cargo Ship, Large Cargo Ship, Light Fighter, Spy Probe, Recovery Vessel
Impulse Drive Heavy Fighter, Cruiser, Bomber, Colony Ship, Super Freighter, Large Recovery Vessel
Hyperspace Drive Battleship, Dreadnought, Destroyer, Missile Chaser, Death Star

The speed given for ships is always the base speed, which is used to calculate the ship's actual speed by taking the propulsion research level into account. Since ships often have the requirement of a minimum propulsion research level before they can be built, the minimum speed that that ship type can have is always much higher than the base speed:

Combustion Drive Ships
Ship Base Speed Minimum Speed Level 6 (+60%) Level 10 (+100%)
Small Cargo Ship 5,000 6,000 (+20%) 8,000 10,000
Large Cargo Ship 7,500 12,000 (+60%) 12,000 15,000
Recovery Vessel 2,000 2,800 (+40%) 3,200 4,000
Spy Probe 100,000,000 100,000,000 (+0%) 160,000,000 200,000,000
Light Fighter 12,500 13,750 (+10%) 20,000 25,000
Impulse Drive Ships
Ship Base Speed Minimum Speed Level 8 (+160%)
Large Recovery Vessel 5,000 11,000 (+120%) 13,000
Super Freighter 16,000 41,600 (+160%) 41,600
Colony Ship 2,500 4,000 (+60%) 6,500
Heavy Fighter 10,000 14,000 (+40%) 26,000
Cruiser 15,000 27,000 (+80%) 39,000
Bomber 4,000 8,800 (+120%) 10,400
Hyperspace Drive Ships
Ship Base Speed Minimum Speed Level 9 (+270%) Level 12 (+360%)
Battleship 10,000 22,000 (+120%) 37,000 46,000

Dreadnought

10,000 25,000 (+150%) 37,000 46,000
Destroyer 5,000 18,500 (+270%) 18,500 23,000
Missile Chaser 5,500 15,400 (+180%) 20,350 25,300
Death Star 100 460 (+360%) - 460

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